Many of us have gone to incredible lengths for love. Indeed, from bad poetry to corny gestures, we all know that such feelings can make us do crazy things. Well, it turns out that famed broadcaster Ann Curry’s parents knew more than most about this kind of thing. And their daughter recently relayed a touching story about them that will warm the hearts of romantics everywhere.
By any measure, Curry’s parents met in a climate that one wouldn’t normally associate with love. To wit, her father Bob Curry – a sailor in the U.S. Navy – met her Japanese mother, Hiroe Nagase, during the U.S. occupation of Japan following the former’s victory in World War Two. So, they certainly seemed like an unlikely couple.
Despite their very different backgrounds, though, the two began an unlikely romance. And – against the U.S. Navy’s wishes – Bob Curry would eventually take Nagase as his wife. In time, the pair would become parents to five children, the eldest of whom would be Ann Curry.
Following an unorthodox childhood, during which she often moved home due to the military postings of her father, Curry eventually decided to pursue a career in journalism. After cutting her teeth in Oregon, Curry soon gained wider exposure as a news reporter in Los Angeles. But it would be at NBC that she would really make her mark.
While under contract with NBC, Curry became famed for anchoring shows such as Today and Dateline NBC. She gained praise for covering stories in war-torn nations such as Iraq, Rwanda and Sri Lanka, receiving an Emmy in 2007 for her coverage of the Darfur crisis.
And after four decades in the business, Curry is still going strong. For her latest venture, however, the journalist decided to sail out into uncharted waters. Titled We’ll Meet Again, the series sees Curry exploring moments of crisis in world history. But this time, she delves into these events on a much more personal scale.
As its wistful title suggests, We’ll Meet Again aims to reunite people long ripped apart by uncontrollable forces. For example, one episode sees Curry help a Vietnamese woman find her American father following their separation during the Vietnam War. Another explores the experiences of civil rights activists during the 1960s.
While it’s quite a departure from the news desk, the series features Curry’s trademark passion for human stories. As Curry wrote on the PBS website, “This is human history… of everyday people on the front lines of massive events they have no way to control. Their stories tell us something about what we are made of.”
But even someone like Curry, who’s witnessed hardships that many people couldn’t imagine, found herself being amazed by her guests. For instance, she relayed a story on the Rachael Ray Show in January 2018 about reuniting people who’d been apart for 70 years. “The cameramen were crying, the producers were crying,” Curry said.
Moreover, the show strikes a personal chord with Curry. After all, her parents had to surmount tremendous obstacles just so that she and her siblings could be born. And it turned out that their struggles had been much more severe than Curry had initially let on. On the set of the Rachael Ray Show, Curry revealed a touching story of love overcoming incredible hurdles.
When Curry’s father Bob met her mother, it was love at first sight. But Bob, being young and shy, was too nervous to talk to his future-wife, who worked as a conductor on the streetcar that he rode each day. It took him weeks, in fact, before he plucked up the nerve to start a conversation with her.
Bashfulness would turn out to be the least of the young couple’s worries, however. As part of the U.S. forces occupying post-World War Two Japan, Bob was forbidden from taking their relationship any further. And after asking for authorization to wed Nagase, the U.S. Navy flatly declined his request.
What’s more, their situation was about to become a lot worse. “[The Navy] were so concerned because [my parents] were so young that they said, ‘We’re sending you out,’” Curry told Rachael Ray. And with that, Bob was dismissed from his duties in Japan and stationed in Morocco – thousands of miles away from his beloved Nagase.
For two long years, Bob was separated from the love of his life. But after the lovelorn sailor’s repeated requests, the U.S. Navy finally relented and sent him back to Japan. When he returned to the country, he immediately went to Nagase’s home – only to make a shocking discovery.
“He knocked on the door, and she came flying in… and they were hugging each other,” Curry revealed. “But then he recognized how small she was, and he stepped back. And that’s when he discovered that she was dying of tuberculosis.”
Being together had always proven difficult for Bob and Nagase, but the latter’s illness made things seem impossible. As their daughter explained, “At this point, you could marry a Japanese woman, but you couldn’t marry a sick one.” So, in order to have their relationship made official, Bob had to resort to a little deception.
Before being allowed to marry Bob, Nagase first had to have an examination to prove her good health. However, knowing that his bride-to-be would never pass the medical, the sailor turned to one of Nagase’s siblings for help. “He had her sister take the X-ray,” Curry revealed. “And he lied to the U.S. Navy.”
Yet despite the dangers involved, Bob managed to fool his superiors. While they were now able to marry, though, the couple still had to deal with Nagase’s illness. “[My father] insisted that she see an American doctor, who said her only chance of survival was an extremely risky surgery,” Curry told Woman’s Day in January 2018.
The surgery certainly took its toll on Nagase. After having 90 per cent of her lungs removed, the former conductor was left in an extremely weakened state and had to be bathed and fed every day by her new husband. Six months later, however, Nagase miraculously returned to full health.
And as the years went by, Bob and Nagase cherished every minute that they had together. Indeed, the two would enjoy a long and happy relationship that only ended with Nagase’s death – half a century on from her initial diagnosis – in 2001. But even though the couple’s time together has ended, their daughter Ann still holds their story close to her heart. Without doubt, it shows the power of true love.